26 July 2014, Geneva / Gaza – The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) highly condemns the attacks against the ambulances and aid workers of Palestine Red Crescent Society in Beit Hanoun and Khuzaaha yesterday.
Two Red Crescent emergency medical workers were killed , and three others wounded, one critically, in the incidents. The ambulances were clearly marked with the emblem of the Red Crescent society, which is a protected symbol under international humanitarian law.
These acts of violence directly contravene the protection granted to Red Cross and Red Crescent staff and volunteers under international humanitarian law, as neutral, impartial and independent actors. These incidents are a clear reflection of the complex and dangerous environment that humanitarian workers face on a daily basis in the occupied Palestine territory.
The Palestine Red Crescent Society’s volunteers and staff have been at the forefront of the humanitarian response in the Gaza Strip, working ceaselessly, putting their lives at risk to deliver emergency medical services and assistance to the thousands who have been affected by the conflict.
It is imperative that aid workers, emergency and medical services are able to function adequately to ensure that critical assistance can be provided to those who need it most. The IFRC calls upon all parties to the conflict to meet their obligations under international humanitarian law. In particular, they must grant Red Crescent and Red Cross personnel safe and unhindered access to persons affected by the conflict.
While humanitarian assistance is providing the utmost support it can, it cannot provide the solution to alleviate the plight of the civilians who are paying the highest price in the conflict. While their needs increase and access to provide assistance becomes more difficult, the situation of these vulnerable people continues to deteriorate.
The IFRC extends its heartfelt condolences to the Palestine Red Crescent Society and the families of the killed volunteers, and reaffirms its solidarity with the National Society. The safety of every humanitarian worker must be protected without fail.
Respect the emblem. Protect our volunteers.
For further information, please contact:
In Occupied Palestine Territory:
- Raefah Makki, Senior Communications Officer, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, MENA Zone, Beirut
Mobile: +961 70 258225 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Reeni Amin Chua, Communication Officer, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Geneva
Mobile: +41 79 708 62 73 | Email: email@example.com